Should a Window Air Conditioner Be Tilted?

When installing a window air conditioner, one of the most confusing aspects is the tilt. There’s a lot of conflicting statements out there. Should you tilt the window AC back? If so, how much should you tilt the AC? What happens if you don’t?

Yes, you should tilt your window AC back at a slight angle. This ensures that all of the water condensation will easily drain out of the unit. However, some newer models of ACs don’t require a tilt, since there is already a drainage system built into the window AC. 

If you’re in doubt, check the window AC unit’s installation manual to see if it needs a tilt. 

In this article, I’ll go over everything you need to know about tilting a window air conditioner. I’ll also cover how much you need to tilt your window AC, and what you should do if your window AC is not dripping water.

How much degrees should a window air conditioner be tilted?

Most window ACs require a tilt of about 2 to 3 degrees to drain properly. This means that the back of the AC needs to be about ½” lower than the front.

The tilt is needed to keep condensation draining out of the back of the window AC unit. If the window AC doesn’t have a tilt, the condensate will pool up inside of it.

Remember that the “½” rule” is only a rule of thumb. Your window AC may need more or less tilt depending on the model. 

Some window AC installation manuals specify that the bubble inside of the level needs to be past the line. What this means is that the bubble inside the level should float slightly towards the front of the window AC when you put the level on the top of the window AC. One rule of thumb is that the ⅓ of the bubble should be past the line.

Keep in mind that some newer models of window ACs don’t require any tilt at all. These models have a slope that is integrated into the drip pan, so water will drain out automatically.

How do you tilt a window air conditioner?

To tilt a window air conditioner, you need to use the included mounting bracket when installing the window AC. The mounting bracket that comes with the window AC incorporates enough tilt so you don’t need to add any extra tilt.

Another way to add tilt to your window AC is to adjust the support bracket. The support bracket is the bracket that holds up the back of the AC. The support bracket is mounted to the outside of the house, below the AC.

Some support brackets have an adjustment mechanism so you can adjust the tilt of the AC. If the support bracket isn’t adjustable, then you can re-mount the bracket at a lower elevation to give the AC more tilt.

If you need to give your window AC a little bit of extra tilt, another option is to shift it around in the window opening to allow it to tilt back further. 

If that isn’t enough, then you can use wooden shims to get the window AC to tilt back more.

What you should do if your window AC is not dripping water

If your window AC is not dripping water, then you need to clean out its condensate drain. The condensate drain can sometimes get clogged by debris. The condensate drain drips out all the water that the AC produces when it cools the air in your home.

Keep in mind that some newer models of window ACs are “dripless”, so they don’t drip water under normal circumstances. Dripless window ACs are also called “self-evaporating” window ACs.

Dripless window ACs splash condensate on the condenser coil. The heat from the condenser coil will evaporate the condensate water. So instead of dripping water, the water evaporates instead.

If you’re unsure if your window AC is a dripless model, then listen to the sound it makes. When a dripless AC runs, you’ll be able to hear water splashing around inside the AC.

Also, a window AC will only drip if the air inside your home is humid. If you live in a dry area, the window AC may not produce any condensate at all. In this situation, it’s completely normal for your window AC to not drip any water.

Hi, my name is Trey Lewis and I’m the founder and chief editor at HVAC Training Shop. My goal for this website is to help homeowners troubleshoot and maintain their home’s HVAC systems. Whether it’s changing an air filter, troubleshooting a blower motor, or just buying a new humidifier, I want to make sure that you’re covered.

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